University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


About Us

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) was established in 1997 by Dr. Stephen Feinstein as an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Minnesota. CHGS provides premiere academic programs, fostering a community of students studying genocide and mass violence while cultivating the essential connection between scholarly inquiry, education and outreach to different sectors of society. Our work is motivated by the hope to inspire future generations to fight hatred and strengthen democracy, thus ensuring a more peaceful and just world.

Three concepts form the core of CHGS’s approach: remembrance, responsibility and progress. Promoting awareness of past genocides and gaining understanding of the causes and devastating consequences of mass violence are essential components of commitment to the prevention of future atrocities. CHGS collaborates and shares expertise and resources with centers, departments and individual faculty members at the University of Minnesota, across the United States and with international academic institutions.

Fostering Future Scholars, Educators and Activists: CHGS guides and mentors undergraduate and graduate students by organizing courses and workshops, offering fellowships and providing unique opportunities for interaction with leading experts in the field.

Education Outreach: CHGS supports educators through interactive workshops and seminars, facilitated by leading experts in Holocaust and genocide education.

The Holocaust and Genocide in the Arts: CHGS studies a variety of artistic responses to the Holocaust, genocide, and mass atrocities.
The arts are used as tools for the victims’ expression and healing as well as for remembrance and education. CHGS provides a forum for discussing the visual arts, film, literature, music and monuments both virtually on our website and through programming on campus and in the community.


Alejandro Baer, Stephen Feinstein Chair and director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

In August 2012, Professor Alejandro Baer was named the Stephen Feinstein Chair and director of CHGS. Baer earned his Ph.D. at the Universidad Complutense and held faculty positions at universities in Madrid, Bayreuth and Munich. He has authored numerous books and articles addressing issues of genocide, collective memory, and antisemitism. He is currently engaged in research on the representations of present and past mass violence in a transnational arena of interconnected memory cultures (particularly the cases of Spain, Argentina and Germany). In April 2014, Alejandro Baer was honored with the 2014 Public Sociology Award at the University of Minnesota. Selected publications.

Jodi Elowitz, Content Coordinator

Jodi Elowitz’s specialty is dealing with artistic representation of the Holocaust in the visual arts with an emphasis on work done in the camps and ghettos. Current research is on Holocaust memory in animated film and the Holocaust in Polish Memory, particularly in film and tourism. Recent work is the article “Seven Minutes in the Warsaw Ghetto: Representing the Unimaginable through Animated Film” for Short Film Studies Journal published in 2014. Elowitz received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities/Art History and her Master Liberal Studies degree at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer Hammer, Program Associate

Jennifer Hammer began working in the Institute for Global Studies in January, 2015. She has primary responsibilities for supporting programming in the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, as well as the Center for Austrian Studies. Jennifer completed her degree at the University of Minnesota in Anthropology and Japanese, and has done graduate work in the history of design at Parsons the New School of Design. Jennifer studied in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Graz, Austria and New York City. Jennifer comes to us from the Department of Communication Studies and has programming and management experience at a number of non-profit organizations including JSTOR, Artstor, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Research Assistants

Arta Ankrava

Arta Ankrava holds an MA in Social Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London and is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. She is interested in diasporic identity, transnationalism, and collective memory. Arta is working on a dissertation about anti-Communism in the Latvian American exile community during the Cold War and through the collapse of the USSR. It is based on her research in the Latvian American Periodicals Collection at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota.

Yagmur Karakaya

Yagmur Karakaya got her MA from Koc University in Turkey and is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. She is interested in collective memory, popular culture and narratives of history. Yagmur is currently working on her dissertation project on Ottomania, which focuses on the contemporary interest in the Ottoman past in Turkey. She is interested in how different groups of minorities engage with the ways in which Ottoman past is recalled and how they situate themselves in this narrative. She also works with Alejandro Baer on a comparative study of Holocaust remembrance initiatives.

Badzin Fellows

Paula Sofia Cuellar (Academic Year 2014-2015)

Paula Sofia Cuellar (El Salvador) holds an L.L.B. degree from Central American University José Simeón Cañas and an M.A. in human rights and education for peace from University of El Salvador. Paula also earned an L.L.M. degree in international human rights from the University of Notre Dame and a postgraduate diploma in human rights and democratization processes from the University of Chile. Currently she is a Ph.D. History major and a Human Rights minor at the University of Minnesota. Cuellar's research interests are human rights, transitional justice and genocide in Latin America. She is right now working on a paper regarding the International Tribunalof Restorative Justice for El Salvador.

Wahutu Siguru (Academic Year 2013-2014, Spring 2015)

Wahutu Siguru was the 2013 Badzin Fellow in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and is currently a PhD candidate in the Sociology department at the University of Minnesota. Siguru's research interests are in the Sociology of Media, Genocide, Mass Violence and Atrocities (specifically on issues of representation of conflicts in Africa such as Darfur and Rwanda), Collective Memory, and perhaps somewhat tangentially Democracy and Development in Africa.In addition to his own scholarship he is currently working as a Research Assistant to Dr. Baer.


The Center's library (Room 710 Social Sciences) is available by appointment.

Hours for Alejandro Baer, Director
(no office hours Spring 2015)
e-mail Alejandro Baer


Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota
214 Social Sciences
267 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Main office phone: 612-624-9007

Page updated March 2015.